In Orissa, the famous ancient soil of Buddhism and agriculture, the Mahabishuba Sankranti is celebrated as the day of dreams for a better world to live in. It is Orissa’s New Year’s Day.
Co-operation amongst social forces to face the dryness caused by the scorching sun and transform it into preparedness for cultivation of paddy – the most staple food of Oriyas – at the end of summer, gets refreshed on this day, as Panji – the Oriya annual almanac that basically carries weather forecasts relevant to agriculture and instructions on consuming agro-products as would be suitable to individuals on the basis of their respective zodiac signs – gets launched with the blessings of the most revered son of the soil- Lord Buddha, worshipped as Sri Jagannatha at Puri.
As the summer that disinfects the soil for better agriculture starts on this day, Oriyas prepare themselves for agriculture with propitiating the Mother Earth with water sweetened by treacles and fruits that they call ‘Pana’, which also is offered to the Goddesses that symbolize Mother Earth and shared and celebrated amongst all the Oriyas irrespective of caste and status in surge of brotherhood defined by their mother tongue. The significance of propitiating Mother Earth with ‘Pana’ is so huge that the day is also known in Orissa as ‘Pana Sankranti’.
Orissa was the last land of India that the British had been able to annex, but was the first soil to have raised the battle of independence against the British, which, afraid of the “disposition” of her children, had dismembered her body and yoked the divided parts with neighboring provinces that it had already occupied and was plundering. The Oriyas had raised unprecedented objection to this mischief and had got back their Motherland in a new shape, based on the uniqueness, strength and spread of their mother tongue.
So, on ‘Pana Sankranti’ day, Oriyas also celebrate their language and brotherhood.
Presentation of ‘Bishuba Sammana’ to an eminent Oriya author by ‘Prajatantra Prachara Samiti’ in its seat at Cuttack every year on this occasion is an instance.
This year, as we have informed earlier, eminent poet Pramod Mohanty has been honored on April 13 with this ‘Samman’. Along with him, ‘Jankara Puraskara’ named after ‘Jhankara’ the journal of Oriya letters, has been awarded to Ajay Kumar Mishra, Amarendra Khatua and Giri Dandasena. Other awards of the Samiti, such as ‘Minabazar Shishu Sahitya Puraskara’ has been given to Laxmikant Rath, ‘Justice Harihara Mohapatra Smaraki Natya Sahitya Puraskara’ to Rajkishore Varadwaj, ‘Ajit Anubad Bharati Puraskara’ to Binay Kumar Das, ‘Rajiv Smaraki Lalita Nibandha Puraskara’ to Niranjana Padhi and ‘Manoj Smaraki Shishu Sahitya Puraskara’ to Abhilas Bal.
The event presided over by eminent poet Sitakant Mohapatra was addressed by famous author Gangaprasad Vimal, with Saroj Ranjan Mohanty, editor of Jhankar giving the introduction.
This being Orissa’s New Year’s Day, its Capital was formally shifted from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar on this day.
Hence the Capital Foundation Day was observed with students of 49 institutes of the city participating in a commemorative parade, with the Speaker of Orissa Assembly Pradip Amat taking the salute.
The day was celebrated in different form in different places.
Such as, about a hundred families of mutual friends, Dr.Jyoti Prasad Pattnaik, Er. Sayad Suleman Ali and others celebrated ‘Mahabishuba Milana – 2012’ at hotel ‘Dalma’ in Bhubaneswar, where two books authored respectively by Sri Satyanas and Smt. Indira Mishra were formally released.
Ekamra Hat effervesced in ecstasy as Oriya housewives joined a pageant with their traditional costumes and ornaments for selection of Shrestha Odiyani (the best amongst Oriya housewives). Kadambini, a journal for women organized the pageant.